By Carol Kuruvilla
The Supreme Court delivered a significant victory for LGBTQ rights this week by recognizing that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans from workplace discrimination. But it remains to be seen just how effectively this ruling will shield queer workers who may actually need that protection the most ― those who are employed by conservative religious business owners.
Monday’s ruling affirmed that in general, businesses can’t fire or otherwise discriminate against LGBTQ workers just for being queer. But the court didn’t consider what would happen if a business owner claims a firing stems from their sincerely-held religious beliefs about gender and sexual orientation. In fact, numerous religious liberty issues around workplace discrimination still haven’t been settled.
That means job security could still be a problem for some LGBTQ Americans ― including, for example, a gay, married nurse at one of the growing number of Catholic hospitals in the country or a transgender cashier at a Hobby Lobby arts and crafts store.
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